NOTE: If you haven't seen this fic before, I feel the need to say that though I like this chapter, it's slightly deceiving. The rest of the story runs in a very different way. So if you find this a little bit boring, please skip to the next chap! It gets more and more funny and amusing after Zack shows up, trust me. Seph and Cloud are just too broody without him:)

Umm…not overtly yaoi, but then, one mans ceiling is another mans floor…whatever that means. Imagery is not my fault…he-he…not really.

Disclaimer: I keep telling myself this…I do not own…I do not own…I do not own…Cloud…or…gah!...Sephiroth…-sob-. There! Was what painful enough, or do I have to give myself a paper cut?


Chapter one

Silk hair brushed against Cloud's face.

Sephiroth spun, building up momentum for his attack. The polished blade was only a centimeter from Cloud's neck when he blocked it. The snicking sound was loud in his ears.

Damn, that was fast.

Cloud was straining every nerve to keep from being killed by his commanding officer. Just a few months ago he would have been dead already. But every time he fought Sephiroth he learned more. He was beginning to be able to sense Sephiroth's next intended move, and that helped to keep him alive.

Cloud had more reason to me grateful to Sephiroth than any other SOLDIER wanabe. The silver haired gnereal would sometimes train especially gifted recruits, but when he did, it was usually an entirely mechanical process. He would show them better stances and make them fight as hard as they were capable, but the trainee's usually just came back looking defeated and beaten. Maybe a bit injured. Sephiroth would seem disinterested and his elegant face would look down right bored.

Cloud however, he honored with a real fight, a fight that only Sephiroth could instigate.

These sparing scenes always took place outside, where Sephiroth could destroy the scenery without consequence. The first fight that he had held with Cloud, he had been so pleasantly surprised by the boy's skill and had gotten so wrapped up in the battle, that he had caused the ShinRa facility five months worth of his own pay in damage. Of course, he had gotten out of paying it, on the grounds that he was merely making full use of the facilities true purpose. But that was the last time that he fought Cloud in the normal training area.

He was so pleased with the boy's unique style and skill, that he complimented him by really trying to kill him.

Sephiroth released his creative spirit, throwing random objects at the unsuspecting Cloud, kicking him when he was down, and nicking his hair when ever possible. That was especially amusing.

The one and only girlfriend of Cloud's that the general had ever seen, had complained of the way his hair was often indiscriminately chopped off. It was a very uneven look for a while, but Cloud's hair grew at a good rate and soon returned to its normal, and to Sephiroth, bizarre spiky state.

He could see that Cloud was getting tired, but he was still worth fighting for a while yet. In fact, this was actually when he became the most interesting, when he was starting not to care about winning or fighting well anymore. Their battles were usually staged far away from anything living or valuable, but they ranged quite a bit and Cloud had once backed away to higher ground, all the way to a small city. That day when he was tired, Cloud had thrown a car at him. The boy had an excellent concept of leverage.

That time Sephiroth had paid for the damages.

The silver haired man spied an opportunity and snipped a clump of hair against a rock, he allowed himself a small smile.

"Ach!" Cloud yelled. He never yelled if Sephiroth slammed him into a boulder or cut him so that he had to send him away for stitches, only when he cut his hair. It was the ultimate in humiliation.

Someday, Sephiroth… Cloud promised himself. He'd have some of that shiny sliver stuff as a trophy.

"I've thought of a wonderful gift for you." He did this every time.

"Oh, yeah?"

Sephiroth leapt into to the air, his heavily booted foot aimed in perfect trajectory toward Cloud's face.

Cloud's mind reeled in the fastest work which it had been forced into all day. Yes…he had tried this himself once…and Sephiroth had…

Cloud grasped the boot before it could reach him and twisted as hard as he could, twisting the leg and it's owner with it.

"I guess you'll have to take that one back to the store." Cloud smiled pleased with himself.

Sephiroth spun gracefully in the air and landed on his feet. Not according to Cloud's plan.

This hadn't been the way it had worked for him.

Sephiroth landed very near him and slipped under his blade, swiping a rock from the ground and pivoting behind him, he knocked Cloud on the back of the head. It wasn't hard enough to kill him, but it could possibly have left him unconscious.

Could fell with a thud.

"Happy new years."

"Uhg. It's a little early for new years." If it was anyone else, he would have been a wee bit hungry for blood right now, but he didn't mind Sephiroth's sense of humor, it was really very unique. He didn't even mind being beaten very much either; no one was as good as Sephiroth, and he didn't expect to be.

Masamune was at his throat. "How many blades do you see?"

"One too many." Cloud said, rubbing his head.

Sephiroth let out a short 'huh' which was his laugh.

Cloud pushed himself up, despite the searing pain in his head. That would disappear soon.

"Are you beaten already?" Sephiroth asked. "What if I were a serious enemy?"

"I guess I'd be dead." Cloud said without remorse. He was saturated in sweat. The purple die of his uniform was bleeding out of the fabric and running down with the sweat, coloring his almost transparent skin.

"And you accept that?" Sephiroth looked disapproving.

"Well, thankfully you don't really want to kill me, and we don't have any enemies as good as you." Cloud explained with a little smile.

"Hmm-huh. You're right. Lets get back; I have much that needs to be done today."

Cloud didn't put away his sword though, while they were walking back, he knew that Sephiroth would randomly attack him when he had relaxed, to teach him to be always alert.

He didn't bother Sephiroth with talking either. The general usually just did a great deal of thinking, only stopping to try and catch Cloud off guard. It wasn't an easy task, walking back with him.

The first time he had fought Sephiroth he had noticed with surprise that the general seemed to be acting more violent than he had ever seen him before, or seen anyone else for that mater. He thought at first that Sephiroth was either having a really bad day and was taking it out on him, or that he was a terrible fighter and his commanding officer was furious at his incompetence.

And he did feel incompetent for the first time in a fight.

Sephiroth was stunningly tall, graceful and eloquent in his movements, he often seemed completely unreal and Cloud wondered what was so different about him, why he shimmered around the edges. After an hour of fighting he was calm, bloodless and breathing as slowly as ever. It was hell fighting. Nature seemed to have created the man for no other purpose then to gracefully and effortlessly dominate.

Cloud could only set his eyes in determination; he was going to live out this fight, he would give it everything he had and prove himself worthy even if he died. It very often seemed like him would die.

To Cloud's surprise he did live through it though; even though Sephiroth seemed intent on killing him. But he continued to wonder why Sephiroth insisted on sparing with him the very next day, outdoors. The next time Sephiroth was just as violent and stunning as before, he kept the battle on even after Cloud had been declared killed a number of times. And He left Cloud perpetually aching from their fights.

Cloud came to recognize an expression of Sephiroth's which he had never seen at any other time and it took him a while to translate it, but after much observation…it seemed that Sephiroth was enjoying himself.

Cloud was stunned at the idea. What? Did the General consider him a valuable opponent? Perhaps he was just amusement. All he did was get himself beat up after all.

Cloud decided anyway, right then, that he would earn for himself, not just Sephiroth's amusement but his respect. Sephiroth was going to approve of him and respect him as someone more then just a subordinate. He had decided that.

The general didn't attack him once, on the way back or speak to him; he seemed to have forgotten the Cloud was even there. He walked slowly, and crossed distances' surprisingly fast, his hair swaying back and forth against his back with every easy measured step.

Cloud wondered what he was thinking of.


A/N: The next chapter with have Zack in it, and therefore be quite deserving of the title 'humor'. Promise!

Review or Sephiroth will get you! Mwahaha… And that's not a good thing damnit!